We began our last full day in Santa Barbara much as we did the previous days with breakfast at the East Beach Grill. Today was not as cold as the previous day, so we were quite comfortable sitting on the beach and having our pancakes.
The plans for the day included a trip to the Mission and then the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. We took the shuttle downtown to State Street to get the 22 bus from the stop in front of the Museum of Art. Here we realized, as the bus was arriving, that we did not have exact change. The bus only came every hour -- this was a problem. Our hero of the day was the bus driver, Jim, a wonderful man who let us on the bus and helped us break our twenty through the money in his wallet and some bus transfers. Jim, you are a most amazing man and your help was much appreciated.
Our first stop was the Old Mission. The Santa Barbara Mission was Spanish mission, naturally, and is still in use in a way as a location of religious and ecumenical retreats. It was an absolutely beautiful building and must have been a very wealthy mission in it's day.
When it was founded, it was also a place for the conversion of the native peoples many of whom worked at the Mission and are buried there.
The chapel was an especially lovely location. We would have loved to sit Mass there, but the only one was at seven thirty in the morning.
The Mission was a very nice stop as it gave us a good feel of the history of the area, which is so very different from New England. The Spanish influence is very strongly felt in this part of California. The architecture of the Mission reflected this. As an interesting fact, the Bishop of California was once in residence at the Mission -- this of course being before California was a state.
After the Mission, we walked down the street to the Museum of Natural History. The museum was a bit more for a younger crowd, but the exhibit on the native peoples of Santa Barbara was very interesting and provided more information than what we had learned at the Mission.
Also of interest was the Pigmy Mammoth, a creature that evolved in isolation in only three locations, one of them, the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara. (The other two locations are a set of islands in the Mediterranean and an island north of Siberia.)
There was also a mammals exhibit which featured local animals, some of which, like the Channel Island fox, we do not see in New England.
After the museum and a wait of forty minutes, we caught the bus back into town for a very belated lunch. We had Mexican at a place called Chicho's and following that I got my first Pinkberry frozen yogurt. It was watermelon and coconut with any toppings I wanted. Seth got some blueberry Coldstone.
We walked back to the motel along the beach getting totally soaked by the incoming water, which was fine because it was in the upper sixties. We also saw four weddings; the first was in the middle, the second had ended and people had left, the last two were just finishing and we got to see everyone.
We settled back at the hotel for the balance of the evening. We enjoyed the cable television and watched a lot of HGTV. The previous night we had watched a bunch of Say Yes to the Dress on TLC. There were a variety of compelling programs from House Hunters to Curb Appeal. I never understood the appeal of HGTV until Seth and I purchased our condo. We also enjoyed fulfilling Seth's lifelong dream of getting room service at a hotel -- we ordered some Dominos Pizza.